Frequently Asked Questions

picture with words of frequently asked questions
How do I apply to be a State Trooper or Special Agent?

When the application window for the next DPS Academy is opened, applications for state peace officers are accepted electronically through the State of Iowa's NeoGov job portal.  Currently, the application window is closed.

If you would like to receive occasional emails with information regarding the DPS peace officer application and selection process, as well as the being one of the first to know the application window has opened, subscribe to the email group.

Announcements that the Department is accepting applications will be made through the Department of Public Safety, Iowa State Patrol and Division of Criminal Investigation Facebook pages, as well as DPS Twitter and ISP Twitter accounts.  Be sure to "like" those pages as you will find up to date information posted there.

Do I need a college degree to be an Iowa State Patrol Trooper?

No.  The minimum education requirements for an Iowa State Patrol Trooper is a high school diploma/GED.

I want to be a Special Agent.  Do I have to go through the DPS Basic Training Academy?

Yes.  All applicants who have completed the first nine steps of the selection process and are chosen to be hired must attend and graduate from the 18-week DPS Academy.

What is the difference between a Trooper 1 and a Trooper 2?

A Trooper 1 with the Iowa State Patrol is assigned to the State Capitol, Terrace Hill and all other state buildings in the Capitol Complex in Des Moines.  They provide security for state government officials and other dignitaries.  Trooper 1's do investigations of crimes on the Capitol Complex and possess full police powers. The minimum age requirement for a Trooper 1 is at least eighteen (18) years of age at the time of graduation from the DPS Academy.

A Trooper 2 with the Iowa State Patrol is deployed to field assignments across the state whose primary duties are to enforce traffic laws and ensure motorist safety.  The minimum age requirement for a Trooper 2 is twenty-two (22) years of age.

More information regarding Troopers with the Iowa State Patrol.

I do not live in Iowa, but want to become a sworn peace officer there.  How many trips do I have to make to Iowa to complete the selection process?

The DPS offers a one week application process for those individuals who are applying from out-of-state or in the military.  These individuals generally report on a Sunday and most are ready to return home by Wednesday or Thursday of that same week. 

More information regarding the Out-of-State/Military special week.

Can I send a resume to apply for a state peace officer position in place of the required DPS application documents?

No. Resumes may be submitted, but do not replace the required DPS application documents.  Resumes will be placed in the application packet.  Resumes are encouraged, but not required.

An applicant will not be considered without submitting ALL of the required application documents.

I submitted an application for a previous selection process.  Am I required to send a new application, grade transcripts, birth certificate, and DD214?

For every new selection process, new/current application forms must be submitted.  You are not required to resubmit a new birth certificate, grade transcripts or DD214 if you applied in the two years prior to the current process.  The only time you would be required to submit a new set of grade transcripts is in the event you attended additional college classes since the last time you applied with the department.

Application packets are kept on file for three years only.  If you are not certain if the department has your documents on file from a previous selection process, it is suggested that these forms be resubmitted.

Do certified officers need to attend the DPS Academy?

Yes. Current Iowa Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) certified peace officers need to apply during an open application window, be selected, attend and graduate from the DPS Academy.

Does your agency accept lateral transfers from out-of-state?

No. Lateral transfers are not acceptable from another state.  Out-of-state applicants would be required to submit their application documents during an open academy application window.  They are also required to attend and graduate from the 18-week Basic Training Academy.  More information for out-of-state applicants.

When will the DPS Academy begin?

The academy start date varies from year to year.  Those applicants who have been accepted into the DPS peace officer selection process will be notified of the academy start date before the application process has been completed.

May I request my application materials, including testing results, be forwarded to other agencies upon my written request?

The testing done for applicants for sworn peace officer positions, which include the physical fitness assessment, the P.O.S.T., the polygraph evaluation, and the psychological evaluation are paid for by the department and are for the exclusive use of the department.  The information on application materials and anything derived from them are the property of the Iowa DPS.   

The DPS does not provide access to or copies of any of the confidential applicant information or tests that are the property of the DPS.

Does your agency allow DPS employees to transfer to other divisions?

Employees are able to request a transfer to another division after one year of service.  If selected for a desired transfer, employees do not have to re-attend the academy.  field training would be provided by the division.

How are the geographical assignments for the Iowa State Patrol trooper positions determined?

Geographical locations for Trooper 2 vacancies are determined based on operational need of the Iowa State Patrol.  Contractually, the vacancies must first be posted to current DPS employees within the same bargaining unit for DPS.  The vacancies that remain after that process would be offered to the new hires going to the DPS Academy.

Can I have tattoos and still be a state peace officer?

DPS sworn law enforcement officers are not permitted to have any tattoos that are visible during the performance of regularly assigned duties.  Tattoos, visible or not, that are offensive in nature are not permitted.

New sworn law enforcement officers with the Department will be required to wear a sleeve/covering over any existing tattoo that is visible during the performance of regularly assigned duties.

DPS Personal Appearance Policy

What can I do to prepare myself for the POST written exam?

A study guide is available for review at all Iowa State Patrol district offices.  In addition, preparatory materials and sample exams are available online at multiple websites.  Applicants are strongly encouraged to study and take sample exams in preparation for the POST exam.

More information regarding the POST written exam.

Do you give veteran's preference points to qualified applicants?

Yes. DPS applies veteran's preference points to the total points an applicant scores on their Physical Fitness Assessment and their POST written exam. 

More information regarding Veteran's Preference Points.

I was born outside the United States and do not have a birth certificate.  How do I prove my citizenship?

If you were born to a United States citizen, you are eligible for a Certificate of Citizenship.  If you were not born in the United States and were not born the child of a United States citizen, you may become a naturalized citizen and would have a Certificate of Naturalization.  With either a Certificate of Citizenship or a Certificate of Naturalization, you could obtain a United States Passport.

Any of these documents would be sufficient to prove citizenship. 

Who determines if a medical condition would disqualify an applicant?

During the medical evaluation phase of the selection process, the medical doctors for DPS would make the determination if any conditions would be problematic to an applicant, as an officer, or would cause future health difficulties.